Mansell, Engel & Cole

Sleep apnea sufferers battle insurers re CPAP device

Here’s a dose of irony. Some sleep apnea sufferers commenting in an in-depth media piece centered on a breathing-assistance machine say that issues surrounding the device are worrisome enough to actually make them lose sleep.

The breathing tool is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, which understandably goes most often by the moniker of CPAP. The device helps users keep their airways open during sleep, enabling them to breathe better.

That such a device should be replete with controversy might seem surprising, but it is.

Here’s why: Health insurance companies that are tasked with paying for or contributing to the costs of CPAPs are demanding that their use be monitored, with information being shared among multiple third parties. Those include doctors, device makers, CPAP suppliers and the insurers themselves.

Many users understandably view that as an unreasonable invasion of their privacy. Consumers frequently lodge other complaints as well. The above-cited National Public Radio article states that insurers “have deployed a host of tactics that can make the therapy more expensive or even price it out of reach.”

“They call the shots,” says one CPAP supplier. Reportedly, insurance companies aggressively pursue strategies that NPR stresses “shift the costs of widely used therapies, devices and tests to unsuspecting patients.”

Those tactics haven’t been routinely acquiesced to by policyholders who have grown frustrated by use, billing and other restrictions placed upon them by insurers. Consumers have commenced bad-faith litigation against insurance companies. One representative filing is a recent class-action lawsuit against mega-insurer Cigna that is grounded in an overbilling claim.

Individuals and families frequently face challenges from their insurance providers that they believe are unfair or even unlawful. They can turn to proven pro-policyholder insurance law attorneys for diligent legal representation and advocacy focused on maximum legal recoveries in such matters.

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